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Indie Author Interview: R. Dawnraven

Hi my little Gremlins you know what time it is! It's time for our weekly Indie author Spotlight Interview! This week our interview is with R. Dawnraven Who's Debut novel "The Hidden Crystals" a YA fantasy novel features LGBTQIA+ Characters as they try to rush to find the mystical Crystals in order to save the world from the rise of darkness and chaos.


Author R. Dawnraven in Elf Cosplay
Author R. Dawnraven in elf cosplay

Let us get to know you:


1. Where are you from? Does that have any impact on your writing?

Canada. Not particularly as my story takes place in a fictional world, but I may make

small cultural/name references.


2. How old were you when you first started writing your own stories?

Somewhere around 12 years old.


3. What do you do to relax?

LARP (live action role-play), read, ride my bike, draw



4. Was there any one moment in your life that made you want to become an author?

When I read Eragon by Chrisopther Paolini and learned he wrote it at age 15. It was very inspiring.


5. How many unfinished novel ideas do you have lying around?

Just one at the moment, I plan to pick it back up once the Twin Moons, the sequel to The Hidden Crystals is out.


6. While I love to rep all Indie Authors I like to spotlight those that are part of

marginalized communities, would you say you are a part of such a demographic?

How do you think this influences your writing?

I’m a trans non-binary individual. My books will all feature a variety queer characters.


7. If you could change any one thing about our world today, what would it be?

I’d get rid of Capitalism. Many, if not all, our problems (poverty/racism/intolerance) stem

from there.


A bit about your writing:


1. How do you go about writing? Are you a planner or do you just write?

I have to plan out my books. Writing with no direction is impossible, my brain is not wired that way.


2. Do you have a preferred writing environment? Such as a Cafe, home office, or just

anywhere?

I can only write at home where it is quiet. Being in other places and around other people

is too distracting.


3. Are you a full-time or a part-time writer? How do you think that affects your

writing?

I have a full-time job unrelated to writing, so writing is part-time. It’s also a bit seasonal

because trying to write during the LARP season (summer) is tricky. It’s hard to focus.


4. What do you find to be the most difficult part about writing? The easiest?

Staying focused is hard. I have some form of ADHD. This makes the first draft the

longest and most difficult part of the process. The easiest part is editing, especially if the

edits are borne of reader/editor feedback.


5. What comes first, plot or characters?

That depends. For the Hidden Crystals and The Twin Moons, the characters came first,

then I built a plot around their vague concepts. For the cozy fantasy I have planned, the

plot came first.


6.  Is there any writing advice you would like to give to a writer working on their first

novel?

Break your writing goals into manageable chunks and form a routine. 1000 words a day

might work for someone who has a part-time job, but it’s rough for someone with a full-

time job. I aim for 200 words a day and frequently end up writing more, really giving

myself a sense of daily accomplishment.


My other piece of advice is to build up a social media following before your first book is

out. This is really important so you can generate hype and find ARC readers! I made this

mistake. Tiktok/Booktok is the current place to be.


7. Why did you choose to self publish your books?

I tried querying The Hidden Crystals but after receiving the same copy-paste rejection

letter so many times, I gave up on the traditional market and went indie. It’s really nice to

be in control of everything, though you do have to pay for everything out of pocket (and

marketing is a lot of work).



Book Specific:

  

 

1. What was your inspiration for your debut novel “The Hidden Crystals”?

The biggest inspiration came from growing up in a time where the only queer books you

could buy was BL/Yaoi (which is a valid source). There were no queer YA novels

available in the early 2000s, at least not in the fantasy/sci-fi genres. Bookstores today

have a very good variety of queer YA and adult books now, but it’s hard to find

something queer with those Lord of the Rings high fantasy vibes. So I wrote it myself. I

wrote the book a younger me would have loved.


2. Could you tell us a bit about “The Hidden Crystals”? Why should we read it? 

The Hidden Crystals is a queer YA high fantasy novel about two elves and their new

human friend who must collect a set of magical crystals in order to stop a traitor.


3. Do you have a favorite character? Scene?  

I don't have a favourite character, I love them all equally for different reasons. My

favourite scene is probably while they are in the magical forest.


4. You love to advertise your books as featuring “Gay Elves” Which I mean, what a

great marketing angel. But do you explore multiple identities within your novel?

There is male-male homosexuality, a nonbinary secondary character as the elves have

three biological genders (there is more nonbinary rep in The Twin Moons), and some

implied lesbianism. Fae, the main character, is actually pansexual which is revealed in

the book.


5. Were there any parts of the novel you found challenging to write? 

Well, the first draft of this novel was 170,000 words. It got cut and rewritten down to

85,000 words. The hardest part was making the cuts and changes. It was my first book

so I was constantly learning a lot about writing and story structure (that first draft was a

dumpster fire).


6. You put your efforts into writing, and then managed to publish a book! How do

you feel now that “The Hidden Crystals” is out in the world?

I am very proud of my accomplishment! Only a very small portion of people who write

actually get to the publishing stage, be it traditional or indie.


7. Would you be willing to share a quote or excerpt that you love the most from your

novel?

The rotting door suddenly gave, and the two fell into a heap inside. Fae blinked stupidly up at Alysion, who had landed on top of him, brown eyes meeting emerald. He was very grateful for the sudden darkness that helped to conceal his burning face, the sudden proximity to the other elf stirring something deep inside him. A faint whiff of fruit followed Alysion as he scrambled off him, muttering something unintelligible.

Pronunciation:

Fae - Fay (rhymes with ‘pay’)

Alysion - Uh-lee-shun


8. And lastly, what are you currently working on? Can we expect to see more books

from you in 2024?

I aim to have the sequel, The Twin Moons out by this summer (currently in the editing

stage). I’ve also made an outline for an adult cozy fantasy (likely a novella) set in the

same world, but at a different time with a different plot.

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